Hilsa production has increased by more than two and a half fold in the last 15 years due to various efforts of the government including imposing ban on catching brood hilsa and jatka (hilsa fry).
Now in the current 2019-2020 fiscal year, the production of hilsa in the country is estimated to be around 5 and a half lakh metric ton (MT). In the 2018-19 fiscal year, 5,33,000 MT of hilsa has been produced.
Dr Anisur Rahman, chief scientific officer of Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute, River Centre Chandpur, who is also an eminent hilsa researcher of the country, said on Sunday, “There is a possibility of increase in hilsa production and thanks to various measures of the government including ban on catching jatka and also ban on catching hilsa during breeding season.” The deadline of ban which was imposed for not catching jatka from the rivers is April 30.
As mentioned earlier that, in the last fiscal year, the production of hilsa was 5 lakh 33 thousand MT. Whereas in the fiscal year 2002-2003 the production of hilsa was only 1lakh 99 thousand MT. In the current 2019-2020 fiscal year, it is expected to increase to 5 lakh 50 thousand MT. Hilsa production will only soar in the next 5 years.
According to the data, 3 lakh 51 thousand MT of hilsa were produced in the 2012-13 fiscal year.3 lakh 75 thousand MT in the fiscal year 2013-14, 3 lakh 8 thousand MT in the fiscal year 2014-15, 3 lakh 95 thousand MTin the fiscal year 2015-16, 4 lakh 96 thousand MT in the fiscal year 2016-17, 5 lakh 17 thousand MT in the fiscal year 2017-18and 5 lakh 33 thousand MT in 2018-2019 fiscal year.
Production of hilsa stood at 517,000 tons in 2017-18, up from 279,189 tons in 2006-07. In 2014-2015 the production was 387,211 tons. In a decade and a half, the production of hilsa has increased more than two and a half times.
Anisur Rahman further said, “Hilsa production will continue to rise if the ban on catching, selling, hoarding, and transporting of jatka continues. It will also increase if we createa proper breeding environment and stop catching the fishes who will lay eggs.”
According to fisheries scientists, Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute, River Centre, Chandpur has conducted a series of studies with a view to establishing the 6th sanctuary for hilsa production. Abundance of jatka is being observed in the tributaries of Meghna in Barisal Sadar and Hijla-Mehendiganj Upazila of Barisal.
Based on the overall results of the study, it can be said that the environment of the region is favourable for jatka or Hilsa, considering the river water quality and river water plankton etc. In this context, it is strongly recommended to declare and establish this region as the 6th sanctuary. The sanctuary will play an important role in enriching the rivers of Barisal region with more hilsa.